Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Must Read Interview for Emerging Writers

Earlier this week, while I was taking a “mini” break from work at my day job to do something important, something screenwriting related, I scrolled over to Done Deal Pro. I was guided my desire to learn about more management companies to query. At the time, I hadn’t registered for Done Deal’s year-long subscription, so I couldn’t get too far in once I accessed the site. (An aside, I do plan on subscribing to Done Deal Pro – and very well might by the time you read this – not only for the information about agencies/managers, but because I know far less about what’s selling now than I should. At roughly $24 a year, half the cost of a competition, it’s worth it to me.)

One thing I was able to read without having a login and password was an interview with Ryan Condal, who broke into the industry earlier this year with the sale of his spec, Galahad. Condal, who is now penning an adaptation of Warren Ellis’ Ocean, was just like most of us here in The League – someone whose day job didn’t quite cut it for them and who wrote in his spare time, with hopes of Hollywood. He's also not that much older than my fellow Leaguers and I, which is no small boost of encouragement.

This is a great interview for all writers to check out, but I strongly encourage young and emerging talent to read it in its entirety. It’s a bit long, but it covers everything from how Condal first got into writing, through how he got noticed, how he got representation, how he made that first sale, and what life has been like for him since. It even goes into a short discussion on managers vs. agents. vs. lawyers. This is a perfect "how to" about what to do once you've got that spec you know is ready to go out and are wondering how to get to what lies ahead (and what lies ahead).

There are currently 7 League members, and we all write things that are wildly different from one another. As individuals, however, though we like to explore different genres, we tend to remain consistent stylistically and thematically. We all have our strengths and genres that we’re better at, no matter how much we try to break out of those at times. Sometimes we fight so hard to try something new that we lose sight of our strengths. Condal talks about this, being “branded” or sticking to your genre, in a very interesting way:

I think [being a branded or “tent pole” writer] is really important for serious writers to key on. What do you love to write? If you had to write one "type" of movie for the rest of your life, what would that be? Notice for me, I’m writing Ocean, a sci-fi actioner and Hercules, a Bronze Age sword ‘n’ sandal epic. Seemingly different, but inherently the same—big, expensive "tent pole" movies with a big world and big cast of characters. So there is a huge amount of diversity available to me inside my "brand." I know writers hate feeling pigeon-holed but (a) you should only be so lucky to be pigeon-holed—it means you’re getting paid—and (b) you need to accept it as a universal truth, embrace
it and use it to your advantage.
You can read the entire interview here.

Until we’re at Condal’s point, in the immortal words of LoKor, “write on!”


petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Very interesting and informative post, Zachary!
Wanted to thank you for making GODIVAS that much more fun with your comment and vote. I always inform the commenter of the winners. They are Nicole Kidman as Lady G. and Leslie Caron as Cocoa.
I hope you enjoy "The Longest Date", and that you're having a great weekend! Petra :))

Zombie said...

This is a great interview - it's good to see things like this every now and then to keep the hope alive. Thanks for sharing.